First I have to say, Happy New Year to you as we enter 2018. No way to not date a blog post as you can look right at the date of the post right?
After a long 2017, I’m very glad to at least have the opportunity for a new start. This year, I’m all about trying to get more content posted. One error I may have made in prior years was not posting in the midst of struggles as I want to help others through the hardships of homeschooling as well. Over the years, people have said, “It’s so easy for you all to do it, but for me…” and then the excuses start flowing. Well, let me tell you, it’s not so easy for us.
The 2017-2018 school year started with me taking over the role as the sole educator. My wife is focusing on building her career as a doula. Therefore, I started teaching my 13-year-old, 11-year-old and to a certain extent, my 16-year-old as well (much less work is required with her as she is in college full-time right now as well). This has been more challenging than I first anticipated for a number of reasons.
First, my “9 to 5” workload did not see the expected decrease. For over a year, I have been playing more of a significant role in our group after the loss of two veteran colleagues. That means more meetings (some useful, most not) and more responsibility to make sure money gets made and customers notice very little of our internal changes.
Second, my Big Homie and Boney have completely different learning styles (although I am hearing there is no such thing…more on that in a future post) from each other and different motivations than my oldest two. While this should be obvious, unlike society’s school, my job is to motivate, meet and lead them in their optimal learning sphere, not just from my learning sphere, a curriculum or other students sphere. Big Homie, once he focuses and if he’s engaged, is a tremendous problem solver. The struggle is to keep him focused. Of course, I’m so glad to be his teacher because if he were in society’s school, he’d likely be doped up on meds to make him “conform”, I mean…pay attention. Boney’s attention span is equally short as well, but she struggles with reading so more hands-on help is necessary for focus and explanation of lessons.
I’m going to be honest with all of you. I confess that there have been many nights I have felt like a failure.
As I have been focusing on work, other household challenges and my own health, there have been too many nights I have gone to bed feeling like I should have done more. I have been trying to at least get seven hours of sleep before starting my 6 A.M. workday in the home office, but that means I’ve gone to bed knowing I need to check work, but I’m exhausted and just don’t have much in me to push through.
I am a big goal person, so now this is one of my top priorities for 2018. I have a personal standard to do better because they deserve more and I know I can do much better. Don’t get me wrong, I think they have learned a ton over the last four months but I know we can do more and accomplish more.
So let me start this year by remembering one of my favorite Fredrick Douglas quotes,
“If there is no struggle there is no progress.“
I am standing on that quote right now. If you are homeschooling and struggling, or wondering if you can do this, I want you to stand on it as well. No, this is not easy financially; it takes time, resources, energy to bring it EVERY DAY. There are no days off in this game. But we focus on the payoff at the end of the race, knowing that the years will be gone before we know it. We will look back knowing we have left our footprints in the drying cement of their hearts and minds. My size 12s are there, flat-feet and all saying,
“You have been taught at an incredible price because you are a worthy investment. Live like one and carry our new tradition from generation to generation. A new family tree and legacy with minds filled by Dad.”
It is not easy, but thank God for the grace to keep striving to get it right and for seizing this new year he has given us.